Support for deaf children aged 0 to 5 years: Guide

Hitchins, A. Lewis, S. Holmans, A. Grover, A. Wakefield, T. Cormier, K. Rowley, K. Macsweeney, M. | View as single page | Feedback/Impact

Support for deaf children aged 0 to 5 years

One to two of every 1,000 children born in the UK has a hearing loss and around half of these children will be severely to profoundly deaf1.  Around 92% of deaf children are born to hearing parents2.  By age three and a half, the human brain has completed 85% of its growth, making the first three years of life critical for optimal development3.  Throughout the literature the importance of early, effective intervention is stressed repeatedly.

For parents of deaf babies and children there are various approaches to communication and development that they may choose for their child.  The weight of this decision for families can be heavy.  Therefore, it is best practice for health and education professionals to enable parents to make an informed choice about which approach they would like their child to follow.  This MESHGuide should be used in conjunction with other MESHGuides on specific approaches to communication which are currently being developed, to enable the reader to explore these in more depth

This guide is intended to provide a summary of the available support for deaf children and their families to inform health professionals and families alike.  It presents an overview of recent domestic and international research and aims to increase awareness and understanding of the challenges faced by deaf children and their families.  This MESHGuide has been designed by practising and retired Educational Audiologists, Teachers of the Deaf and Researchers.  They have a wealth of knowledge and experience in working with families and deaf children in the early years after diagnosis.

This MESHGUIDE uses the word ‘deaf’ to refer to all levels of hearing loss.


This guide is one in a series of Deaf Education MESHGuides.